Denominational commitment……the time where one makes a decision about which church denomination they will worship God under is a fork in the spiritual road that I missed somewhere in my Christian walk. I’ve been a Christian for 30+ years and I still don’t know where I fit in.
My Spiritual Beginning
I started reading the bible in 1982. My then wife had a very basic bible that I picked up and started reading one day and from then on I was hooked.
I admit that I’m pretty ignorant about a lot of things. What the different denominations stand for within the Body of Christ is one of the subjects I know the least about when it comes to spiritual issues.
Every day during my 2 hour lunch breaks I used to hop in my car and go over to San Antonio Park and read the epic stories in the bible.
I remember coming home from work each day and excitedly sharing the stories I had read in the bible that day.
Shortly thereafter I began watching Christian television. The service I watched aired at 8:30AM each Sunday morning. I used go into the bedroom alone and close the door behind me. For the next hour I sat devouring God’s Word presented by an amazing teacher.
A few short months later, after finding out what I needed to do to become a Christian, I accepted the Lord into my heart alone, in my car at the park on my lunch break.
Soon after, we began attending the church whose services I watched on TV and remained members of that church for quite a few years.
My spiritual life had its share of ups and downs and my closeness with God grew over the years. I studied my bible and developed a very healthy prayer life.
A Denominational Orphan
Over the past 30+ years the subject of denominations rarely came up in the circles I traveled in. I admit that I’m pretty ignorant about a lot of things. What the different denominations stand for within the Body of Christ is one of the subjects I know the least about when it comes to spiritual issues.
The first church I joined was a non-denominational church. I suppose non-denominational is its own denomination so if I had to make a guess as to where I fit in, I suppose I’m non-denominational.
But somehow non-denominational doesn’t sound as cool as Episcopal, or Presbyterian. And the coolest of them all in my opinion is Pentecostal. When I hear someone say, “I grew up Pentecostal” it carries the idea in my mind that they are a real authority on the scriptures. Forget about the fact that I have no clue what a Pentecostal is.
The few times I’ve asked what the different sects stand for, the answers I got were as clear as mud.
Did I miss something in scripture? Was there a time in my spiritual life when I should have chosen one of these denominational roads to travel? Is simply believing in Jesus Christ and the bible enough without having a denominational attachment?
I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that there was one God, one Son and one bible, yet there were what seemed to be a myriad of different denominations who all had different takes on what the one God has said. It was a little overwhelming to me.
Carrying my confusion even further was the fact that I learned that you could be kicked out or excommunicated from some of these denominations for doing certain things. I searched for scripture to reflect these practices but failed to find any.
I Guess the Joke is on me
At one point in my young Christian life I heard of the Baptist denomination. I remember thinking, ‘Okay, this one is easy to figure out. They believe in Baptism”. But then, my friend told me that he was baptized in the Methodist Church! As soon as I thought I was on my way to figuring out this denominational thing they changed the rules in me.
As a boy I had learned that Martin Luther King was a minister as well as a civil rights leader. So naturally when I heard of the Lutheran church, you can probably guess who I thought held a prominent position there.
Of course I later found out that Martin Luther King had nothing to do with the Lutheran church.
Throwing my hands up in confusion with the denominational jigsaw puzzle within the church, I reasoned that I couldn’t go wrong as long as I kept my head in my bible and kept Jesus at the forefront of my mind and heart.
To this day I still have no idea what I would be classified as other than a believer in Jesus Christ. I still don’t have a clue what the different denominations stand for and what the differences between each one is.
I suppose researching denominations just isn’t that important to me, because surely if it was I would have learned what the differences were and aligned myself with one of them by now.
What matters most to me is loving the Lord my God with all my heart, all my mind, and all my strength and loving my neighbor as myself. If occupying my time with these isn’t enough, I guess I’ve failed.
The reason for this article is to let those who are out there searching for which denominational road to go down that you aren’t alone.
You’ve got a completely clueless denominational buddy over on the west coast who has somehow survived just fine living on loving the Lord Jesus Christ without any denominational ties.